SME Guide To Bidding – PART 2

Jun 1, 2022Bid Training, Bid Writing, SME Champions, Social Value, Tender Writing

Welcome back to Part 2 of the SME Guide To Bidding! This part covers the basics of Social Value and Bid Feedback. If you missed Part 1, you can read that here.

Social Value:

Social Value is focused on what your company provides to society, this includes how you support the local economy, buying from other local businesses, and also how your company is trying to achieve NetZero. Examples of Social Value are:

  • Hiring new staff for the contract
  • Offering apprenticeships
  • Attending career fairs to promote your industry
  • Sponsoring a local fun day
  • Volunteering to decorate a community centre, or pick litter in a park
  • Using electric vehicles
  • Signing up to a ‘bike to work’ scheme
  • Running a community recycling education workshop
  • Training a mental health first aider
  • Give your staff mental health awareness training

Back in September 2020, the Government announced new measures to deliver Social Value throughout public procurement. These new measures were launched to help:

  • Promote new jobs and skills
  • Encourage economic growth and prosperity
  • Tackle climate change
  • Level Up the UK

This new approach means there will be more opportunities for SMEs to win Government contracts by demonstrating the full extent of the value they would generate. Value for money will still be a high factor, however, your social value score will now be incorporated into the assessment of contracts.

This approach will apply tests that all bidders, regardless of their size, will be capable of meeting, which helps to level the playing field for SMEs, start-ups, and voluntary/charitable sector organisations within the UK.

Bid Feedback and How To Use It:

As upsetting as not winning a tender is, you can learn valuable things from the feedback received from the Contracting Authority. They can help you to recognise your strengths and weakness to be able to improve your written response, and possibly some practical work, ready for your next bid.

The feedback you receive can vary quite a lot, where some will offer honest feedback that highlights certain areas and others may provide you with a few generic bullet points – or sometimes no feedback at all! More importantly, if it’s a public sector bid and they don’t give you feedback, they are in breach of the Public Contract Regulations.

If you don’t receive feedback, you can request further information, this must be given to you within 15 days of a written request being received.

What sort of information should you ask for in a written request for feedback?

  • Who won the contract? – this question will highlight a competitor and allow you to research them, see if they’re an established business or a start-up, and also help with your long-term strategic plans.
  • How many bids were received & where did your bid place? – by asking this, you’re able to gain an idea of the level of competition you’re up against.
  • What was the winning score, and what was your score? – this allows you to understand how competitive your bid was, and also allows you to highlight any areas you may need to work on.

As well as the above, it’s also worth finding out the below, if it’s not already been given to you:

  • A breakdown of your scores against the evaluation criteria
  • Which, if any, criteria you didn’t meet the minimum standard required on
  • What areas the Contracting Authority would suggest you improve your approach on

Once you’ve received the feedback, if it wasn’t already provided for you, share the feedback with your bid team. Doing this enables your team to identify any shortcomings and put together a plan for future bids. Not only this, but they can also see which parts of that particular bid did well, and by keeping a record of the feedback you receive from unsuccessful bids, you can reuse high scoring parts in other bids, providing they’re relevant to the contract you’re bidding on.

Regardless of whether you were successful in your bid or not, you should always be offered feedback, if not, you can request this.

What does good feedback on your response look like?

  • The feedback should start with a thank you, it should then set out what the feedback will cover and how the scoring and evaluation were carried out.
  • They should then cover any questions you have on the process, evaluation, or project outcomes (if necessary).
  • It shouldn’t JUST focus on the negatives. Within the feedback, you should be made aware of what went well and your strengths within the response.
  • You should receive constructive feedback, not just criticism. This will include areas for improvement against the evaluation criteria, or even against the project KPIs.

Remember – losing a bid isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

It allows you and your team to grow as writers and gain valuable information for the next one.

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Beth Yeomans

Currently an apprentice working towards a Digital Marketing Level 3 Qualification

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